The serpent covered with feathers appears from very early times in Mesoamerica; it was depicted between the Olmecs, it was a common motif in Teotihuacan and in late periods, in places such as Tula and Tenochtitlan it was known as Quetzalcóatl (“Feathered Serpent”), the creative god par excellence.Among the Mexicas, the god Quetzalcóatl transformed into feathered serpent was commonly represented as a rattlesnake (Crotalus) covered with a few elongated superposed elements instead of the scales that cover naturally the skin of these snakes. These elements symbolize the green and iridescent quetzal feathers (Pharomachrus mocinno), a bird extremely valued by the Mesoamerican people.This piece was carved completely, including the base in which the sculptors captured the image of the deity of the Earth, Tlaltecuhtli. This sculpture portrays a snake in a coiled position and from the jaws, full of sharp teeth and fangs, comes out the forked tongue of snakes. In the middle of the tongue there is a knife-face, symbol of human sacrifice that reminds us that the God Quetzalcoatl was the patron of the priests who carried out human sacrifices in honor of the gods.Arqlga. Bertina Olmedo Vera


  • Title: Serpiente emplumada
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1325/1521
  • Physical Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: h210 x d440 cm (complete)
  • Period: Posclásico Tardío (1250-1521 d.C.)
  • Ciudad de México: Mexica
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia., INAH. Proyecto de Digitalización de las Colecciones Arqueológicas del Museo Nacional de Antropología. CONACULTA-CANON-MNA.
  • External Link: http://www.mna.inah.gob.mx
  • Medium: Piedra

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